tv Presidential Debate MSNBC October 17, 2012 1:00am-2:30am EDT
you're not just looking for a house. you're looking for a place for your life to happen. university in new york. in term of what happened tonight, president obama and mitt romney had an intense and spirited and at times very, very confrontational 90-minute debate in front of a crowd of undecided voters. they weren't supposed to talk directly to each other and they did it plenty. it had audible gasp and cheers from the crowd even though they were admonished not to do that as they chad traded baushs on a number of issues. they started with the economy. >> we have not made the progress we need to make to put people to
work. that's why i have a five-point plan that gets america 12 million new jobs in four years and a rise in take-home pay. it will help jeremy get a job when he is out of school and help people unemployed right now. >> he has a one-point plan and that is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. that's been his philosophy in the private sector, as governor and as a presidential candidate. >> president obama was noticeably looser and more aggressive than at the first debate. at one point saying mitt romney is offering the american people a quote sketchy deal. >> now, governor romney was a very successful investor. if somebody came to you, governor, with a plan that said, here, trillion and we're going to pay for it, but we can't tell you until after the election how we're going to do it, you wouldn't have taken such a
sketchy deal. and neither should you, the american people. because the math doesn't add up. >> mr. romney gave a very spirited defense on that specific issue tonight. his rejoinder after president obama said that was to defend the math of his tax plan. essentially saying look at who i am. look at who i've been my whole life. of course the numbers will add up. >> if somehow the numbers don't add up, would you be willing to look again at a 20%. >> of course they add up. i was someone who ran businesses for 25 years and balanced the budget. i ran the olympics and balanced the budget. i ran the state of massachusetts as a governor, to the extent any governor does, and balanced the budget all four years. when we're talking about math that doesn't add up, how about 4 trillion dollars in deficits. 5 trillion. that's math that doesn't add up. we have a president talking
about someone's plan in a way that's completely foreign to what my real plan is. >> that sort of elliptical phrasing, we have a president talking about someone's plan in a way that's completely foreign to what my real plan is. that's the kind of elliptical phrasing that damned president obama's chances in the first debate. tonight you heard that sort of phrasing from mitt romney, whereas president obama's sentences got shorter and more direct and more accusatory. you saw that tonight on the issue of gas prices in particular. watch. the governor said when i took office the price of gasoline was $1.80. why is that? because the economy was on the verge of collapse. because we were about to go through the worst recession since the great depression. as a consequence of the same policies that governor romney is now promoting. it's conceivable he could bring down gas prices. with his policies we may be in
the same mess. >> one of the things eager listen anticipated is this might be the first time they went head to head on the issue of reproductive choice. both campaigns are happy to say suburban women in particular were key targets of who they were trying to move with tonight's debate. when women's issues did come up, they were brought there by president obama. he turned a discussion of fair pay into a an issue of women's health. but president obama chose to focus on the issue of contraception and defunding planned parenthood. rather than directly going to the issue of abortion rights. >> when governor romney says we should eliminate funding for planned parenthood. there are millions of women all across the country who rely on planned parenthood for not just contraception. for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings.
that's a pocketbook issue for women and families across the country. it makes a difference of how well they were able to work. we talk about child care, that makes a difference in terms of going out there and earning a living for the family. these are not just women's issues. these are family issues. >> i don't believe the bureaucrats in washington should tell someone whether they can have contraceptive care or not. every woman in america should have access to contraceptives and the president's statement and my policy is completely and totally wrong. >> we'll be talking to ezra klein, our policy analyst about mitt romney's assertion that he doesn't think employers should tell people if they have contraceptives or not.
immigration, which we'll be talking about in a moment. mitt romney's overseas investments. he had a ready de rejoinder to that. it got mitt romney's 47% remarks came up at the very end of the debate in a way judged to be very effective for president obama. gun control came up, although both candidates took that as an opportunity to go off into lots of ideas totally unrelated to guns. this was a strong performance by president obama at a time when democrats said he desperately needed a strong performance. the question now is how strong? how strong does he need to be with 21 days left to go? we just got a cbs news flash poll of uncommitted voters. 37% watching tonight's debate say that president obama won. 30% say mitt romney won. 33% scored it a tie. those are uncommitted voters in a flash poll put together by cbs tonight.
let's go back to chris matthews at the debate site tonight. >> rachel, we are joined by phone by andrew sullivan. we have a big crowd here. and andrew, thanks for calling in tonight. how are your passions on this race heading right now after watching that? >> i saw the president i saw in 2007. i saw the guy i watched get health care reform passed. i saw the guy who turned the economy around tonight. i saw the president i thought i knew and i didn't see last time. and i am -- i am bloody elated. let me put it that way. i'm elated he's back and has momentum. he took it too him in terms of substance and style. he was so calm. he leaned forward. he smiled.
romney seemed desperate and was called out in several obvious lies. every bomb that obama could have hit last time and missed, he hit this time. i'm thrilled. >> do you think this will reinspire the movement behind president obama? will this be the spiritual uplift necessary to stop the movement towards romney? >> yes. i can't know that for sure. i can only tell you what's going on in that soul of mine. and deeply almost disoriented by what happened the last time. i felt like the reality i saw disappeared. tonight, no. this is the president we wanted. the the change we believe in. i think it will revive spirits and morale and i think he will come kicking back in the polls. his policies add up.
romney's don't add up. and that's clear to me. >> looks like he's back in the fighting position of all the issues. and let me ask you one last thing about the role of a moderator. we have seen three examples of what a moderator is. you can define your role. what did you make of candy crowley compared to jim lehrer? which one did you like? >> i think martha was the best to be honest with you. the fact that candy crowley fact checked instantly a candidate in live time is what journalism is about. he told us what he just told us is untrue in realtime. that's a pro. she was intimidated by the usual forces and she fought back b but the way romney constantly cut her off and cut the president
off and interrupted and at one point heckled the president in the middle of an answer made him look slightly desperate. he had that binder full of women that he had. that's what's going on around right now. whatever he said tonight the relationship and the way he dealt with her is not something many women are going to like or appeal with. give us something to show us you're a decent nice guy. he couldn't. he says i always believe obama is a ruthless character in the end. i saw a wimp the last time around. tonight i think he realized how badly he screwed up. he made it right. he has done it before.
this is the real tonic i certainly needed and a lot of supporters needed. >> it's great to hear from you always. lawrence o'donnell is in the room with former new york governor -- republican governor, a romney supporter. lawrence, take it away. >> there are few things more important than gas prices. >> it's clear they were twice as high today as when president obama took office. there are a lot of reasons for it. one being that we've seen an incredible decline. not just in the production of gasoline on federal drilling sights, which is down, but we don't have refineries in the united states. the president tried to take increase for the oil and gas reduction.
it's inspite of the government. it's because technology and venture capitalists and entrepreneurs have been out there drilling for the past ten years and figuring out how to access shell gas and shell oil. so i think there's absolutely every reason to say this president's policies have failed. >> before we turned downward in 2008 the economy as you know they were right above where they are now. so the case against president bush for having gas prices go above $4 is what? >> i think president bush was hurt by the fact that gas prices were over $4. >> i think there's a huge difference and the difference is over the past four years. take a look at the keystone pipeline. why did the president veto that?
north american oil from a friendly country. so when you look at why we are where we are today there are to questions there are some reasons but there are also obama policies. oil, weak, global commodities. when you weaken the u.s. dollar year after year. when you go through the deflation, inflation of the money supply, the u.s. dollar goes down. gasoline goes up. wheat goes up. clothing goes up. we haven't seen inflation impact society at large, families are being hurt by this. families that need to pay for that extra meal at home. i think it's been very disappointing to the american people. >> i want to get to the detailed side of the romney tax plan that he's not willing to discuss, which is the deductions. he says he wants to cut rates and eliminate deductions that fill in the funding hole.
>> that i would suggest? >> yes. >> oh, sure. i don't think it's right that you can have a million dollar mortgage and get the same deduction as someone with a 200,000, 300,000, $400,000 mortgage. you can cap the amount of the mortgage reduction. cap it at $1.1 million. >> yes. >> what should it be? >> i would say in the neighborhood of 600,000. >> what about the suggestion from the governor that perhaps we should just have a bucket, a deduction of $25,000. you know within an hour's drive of where we are now. which includes new york city, hundreds and thousands of new yorkers would be hit by that if you limit just their state and local taxes are above $25,000?
i like that. argument is governor romney wants to lower the marginal rate. the governor's tax proposals to lower the top rate to 28%. president obama's own by partisan commission recommended moving it. they raised over trillion dollars. >> specify. they covered up every loophole. every single deduction including charitable. the first proposal was eliminating every deduction. why do you bring this up? >> governor romney said 28%. that allows you to restore the deductions that they would have
removed. >> were you surprised how strong he was. >> no. i'm not surprised he went on the attack. he can't defend the record. but i'm very pleased. but he did an excellent job of laying out a division of the country. the majority of americans know that's what we need. >> governor, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> lawrence o'donnell, thank you very much from new york. one of the sort of intangibles. but it's at least off point from the debate but everybody watches anyway is how the two sides spin. you knew the mitt romney side really thought they cleaned up in the first debate is for a time the only people in the spin room were republicans. they all springed in to tell the story they were very excited to tell. tonight when the debate was supposed to be wrapping up, it was 100% democratic surrogates with no republicans.
maybe the obama side did that to get us to talk about it, or maybe they thought they did a great job and wanted to tell their story. one thing we've been discussing is the role of the moderator. the way they were combative and combative with the moderator, with candy crowley of cnn. we have a taste of that. >> he got the first question. so i get the last question. >> actually, in the follow-up it doesn't work like that. but i'm going to give you a chance here. i promise you. i'm going to. and the next question is for you. so if you want to continue on -- but i don't want to leave all these guys sitting here. >> candy, i don't have a policy of stopping wind jobs in iowa. they're not phantom jobs. they're real jobs. i appreciate the wind jobs in iowa and across the country. i'm going to make sure that
taking advantage of the energy resources will bring back the manufacturing to america. this is are aggressive energy policy, three and a half million more jobs. >> i'm used to being interrupted. >> we're going to move you both along to taxes over here. the gold medal goes to the transcribers who had to be transcribing multiple people talking over each other all night long. president obama at the end saying there i'm used to being interrupted. ed, you were saying this was one of the dynamics important in terms of how women saw the debate? >> i said i thought the president shored up the victim's vote tonight. in the last few weeks plopz has gained in the poll, in a number of polls with women voters -- >> closed the gender gap. >> tonight equal pay. mitt romney never clarified he's for equal pay in the workplace. he had the opportunity. he didn't do it.
he made the comment if women are in the workforce. really? there's more women working than ever in the country. he also said he went through binders full of women that he looked at that he was thinking about putting in a leadership position when he was governor of massachusetts. binders full of women is now the hottest thing on twitter now. he is disrespectful. he was disrespectful to the president of the united states. he was disrespectful to the moderator. he was a bully. this is who the guy is. >> he bullied. and he did not just have the opportunity to address equal pay for women. that was a question. there was a direct we from the audience about equal pay to women. he avoided answering it. it is worse than he didn't address it. that was the question. you are right, rachel, po point
out about the spin room. which is more telling as someone who has been in debates is when you see romney almost immediately leapt, and the president hung around about 40 minutes taking pictures and being very comfortable. gives you a lot of body language and who felt they had a good night. romney was gone and on the plane to the next stop before the president left the stage. >> the binders full of women reminded me of paul ryan in the debate. he talked about someone he grew up with. that's great, but not a policy answer. and you see this kind of constant move from the romney/ryan ticket. if there's a policy on the table which you're embarrassed to fully vocalize or don't have a good position on, retreating to something about hiring women. which is great. but that's not the issue on the table. >> much more ahead. reaction from both camps from howard fineman from the spin room and more on the facts and non facts in the debate with ezra klein.
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governor romney said he wasn't referring to the nation. his top adviser is the guy who designed the arizona law. the whole thing. that's his policy. and it's a bad policy. welcome back to msnbc's live coverage of the second presidential debate. howard fineman is with us from the spin room. he's spoken to both tonight. >> well, it's fascinating rachel
to see the verdict coalesce here within minutes of the debate. everybody in the press room thought that the president had done a good job. after talking to both camps and reading between the lines and listening to the spin, it was clear that this was a big night for the president, and i think even the romney campaign understands that. they said the president came out swinging talking about the romney people now. and he certainly did. the president scored victories on pay equity, on education, on the vagueness of romney's tax plans and in one of the signal moments when mitt romney thought he had the question cornered on what the president had said in the rose garden. when mitt romney had that killer look in in his eye, the president turned out to be correct. candy crowley corrected the record.
and it was a key moment. as you said, the obama people rushed out to the press room. listening to david axlerod and stephanie cutter, they all had different points. this is also an interesting indication they felt free to talk to their heart's content about what they saw that was good about the debate. the romney people showed up later. yeah, the president showed up big. but we think romney made the main point. his best moment is when he gives the summery of the ways in which the economy hasn't performed precisely the way the president hoped and predicted it would. that's romney's best argument. really it was exposed to be the
only one he had. in talking to the people here i think the consensus was that mitt romney who can be a good salesman in the short run, if you listen long enough you again to see the machinacry of salesmanship behind the smile. people having seen one version of mitt romney in the last debate. this time they were listening more closely and with the help of the president that's the bottom line from the people i talk to here tonight. >> thank you for that. in terms of the point of seeing the machinery at work. one thing emerging now about the signal moment in the debate where mitt romney really thought he was going to nail the president on what the president said in the rose garden the day
after the benghazi attack. you did not call it an act of terror. one of the things seeing the machinery at work there is we saw a lot of right wing pundits on twitter and other social media during the debate saying that mitt romney was right and citing right wing blog posts that asserted that to be the case about the president's remarks. it wasn't true. it was a truth on the right wing for right wingers only talking to one another when you have a campaign on foreign policy tough? particular by people who are really creatures of the right wing blog group sometimes on tv in live fact checking moments, it shows. all right, there was a lot of policy ground covered tonight that had not been covered in the first debate. our policy analyst ezra klein is coming up to go over key moments in how they stack up. [ lisa ] my name's lisa, and chantix helped me quit.
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i don't believe the bureaucrats in washington should tell someone if they should use contraceptions or not. i don't believe employers should tell someone if they should have contraceptive care or not. every woman in america should have contraceptives. >> i don't believe employers should tell someone if they can have contraceptive care or not. ezra klein, i hate to call this one a slow moving fast ball over the middle of the plate, but isn't that kind of a slow moving fast ball over the middle of the plate? >> it moved pretty slow. the first problem is what he said about the bureaucrats in washington. he has promised to defund planned parenthood. that's a key providers of birth control to 2 million american women. the second problem is he doesn't believe employers should be able to tell someone the if they should have contraceptive care. mitt romney also supports the blunt amendment.
it does exactly that. it allows an employer to tell you if you get birth control coverage or any other kind of medical coverage for that matter. if they say it violates their religious beliefs or moral convictions. >> i want to ask you about a moment where another health care issue came up. and it was raised not by the moderator or by the audience questioner, but by president obama here. the original question to mr. romney, how are you different than george w. bush. but when mr. obama had a turn, this is what he said. >> there are some things where governor romney is different from george bush. george bush didn't propose turning medicare into a voucher. >> i don't know about george w. bush and medicare and vouchers was he right there? >> i do know. earlier this year i read "renewing america's promise", and what surprised me when i read it is right there in the
medicare section, there was a big thing on turning medicare into a voucher. it says the commission introduced a reform plan then on the next page. as president the governor will seek to reform medicare by building on these recent bipartisan efforts. he doesn't use words premium support or voucher. but if you know what that plan is he's talking about from the bipartisan reform commission is, that's premium support. this is something the republicans wanted to do for a very long time. it's something mitt romney wants to do now. so the contrast he drew is not quite right. there is continuity. >> you think about the way that landed as a political punch. the point from president obama there was, yeah, you're not like george w. bush, you're way more radical on social issues. on planned parenthood, on medicare, on immigration.
he raised all the issues. but actually george w. bush was more radical than we remember him being. another one on the issue of energy. romney tried to frame the bottom line importance of energy as energy prices. let's hear the sound bite. >> i will fight for oil, coal and natural gals. the proof of whether strategy is working or not is whoo what the price is that you're paying at the pump. if you're paying less than you paid a year or two ago, then the strategy is working. >> is governor romney making the case that we should have lower gas prices and government policy should make that happen. how does that square with mr. romney's record? >> not incredibly well at all. this comes from an article by alec mcgillis. there was a time as governor when romney actually did think we should be trying to lower gas prices. he said, an i quote here, i don't think now is the time.
he was talking about repealing the gas tax. i'm not sure there will be the right time to encourage the use of more gasoline. i'm very much in favor of people recognizing the high gasoline prices are probably here to stay. this gets to a big thing. the reason he was saying that in massachusetts. the reason he said lowering gasoline prices is not necessarily his purpose is there was a time when both parties believes climate change was a real threat. we wanted to signal to the market. republicans no longer believe that, and you notice tonight, we did not hear anything about climate change. >> ezra klein, thank you very much for that. chris hayes with the audible grunt on climate change. >> having an energy conversation without talking about climate is like talking about smoking and not talking about cancer. you can't talk about it unless you talk about what the stakes are for the climate.
it's unlikely we'll see it in the third. who is the more pro coal candidate? who is the more pro coal candidate is who is going to most hastily speed our head long flight of disaster towards a climate future in which we have not higher gas price, higher temperatures. and the thing that's so frustrating is the future farmers of america who will see livelihoods destroyed are not voting in the election. the people that will live in inland coasts are not voting in the election. the people working in coal companies now are voting in the election. i understand what their livelihood means to them. there's an asymmetry between the people voting and the future people who aren't. we talk bt about it in terms of deficit be we don't talk about it in terms of climate. >> one issue that came up for the first time that did not come up in the vice presidential
debate or the presidential debate but is absolutely critical to this the country, not just on substance but in terms of the electorate, something steve that you've been raising which is not just the latino vote but immigration. i have a quick clip i want to play from the way mr. romney responded to a question, a very conservatively worded question. a woman asking about what the candidates would do about people who don't have green cards but who are productive members of the society. this is mr. romney's response in part. >> i will not grant amnesty. i'll put in place an employment verification system and make sure employers who hire people who come here illegaly sanctioned for doing so. so for instance, i would not give driver's licenses to those who have come here illegally, as the president would. the kids of those that came here illegally. those kids should have a pathway
to become a permanent resident. >> on that specific issue mr. romney promised to veto the dream act. president obama took it to him on that issue. >> i think it was a big missed opportunity when talking to latinos particularly in nevada and colorado. much of the answer was formulated on what he's not going to do. what he's going to oppose as to what he's going to do for the community. to understand for good reason why the republican brand, particularly the congressional branch has become so toxic in the community and to make the point that that makes america stronger, the valuable contributions of that demographic, that community to the military services of our country. america is a stronger country because of the presence of latinos in it. and if you understand the history of the west in this country you understand the
western states which will be so critical in the outcome of the election. the culture, the opportunities created by this community make for a richer, vibrant, better country. and he didn't talk about that. he gave an answer with his head. he didn't give an answer with his heart. i think that community is screaming out to hear a republican answer with his heart. >> he referred to them as undocumented illegals. >> the sample of plus three republican overall colorado voters in this ppp poll said that president obama won the debit 48-44. among independents watching this it was 58-36 who said that president obama won. we have a cnn opinion research poll of debate watchers. 46% saying president obama won tonight's debate. 39% saying mitt romney won. much more to come. up more from the spin room. and more analysis. please stay with us. live coverage of the second presidential debate continues after this. ♪
four years ago i told the american people and i told you i would cut taxes for middle class families, and i did. i told you i would cut taxes for small businesses, and i have. i said i would end the war in iraq, and i did. i said we would refocus attention on those who actually attacked us on 9/11. we have gone after al qaeda's
leadership like never before and osama bin laden is dead. i said we would put in place health care reform to make sure insurance companies can't jerk you around. if you don't have health insurance you would have the chance to get affordable insurance. and i have. i committed to rain in the excesses of wall street. we passed the toughest wall street reforms since the 1930s. >> msnbc's lawrence o'donnell is in the spin room tonight. the very active spin room. he's with martin o'malley who is a big supporter of the president's. lawrence? >> governor, there was a moment when mitt romney found himself saying president bush and i are different people. that was in response to a question you recall from the audience saying -- a woman saying i'm a little concerned that you would be sending us back into the bush policies. he listed off a list of what thought were distinctions. one was his experience in small business. and other things.
but that was the spot where you would imagine mitt romney never wanted to be. explaining the difference between himself and george w. bush. >> i thought it was a great question there. i think that's on a lot of people's minds. what about you will be different? >> and it wasn't asked in a challenging way. >> that was an honest question. >> one one of my worries is this. >> i think the president was able to take the question and in essence say, you know how he's different, he's difference because he's worse than president bush on the social issues. on immigration. on wanting to do away with funding for planned parenthoot and contraception. i thought it was a crystallizing moment. i can't imagine what was going through governor romney's head.
he pumped out some things that were falsehoods. i mean, he really didn't balance the budget in massachusetts. he left a $1.2 billion deficit and loaded up the people with more debt than any other state. >> and he called george w. bush on not balancing the budget. >> right. and he also had one of the worst job creation rates of any governor in america at 47. >> he also did the i will crack down on china, president bush didn't. that brought up an interesting exchange from the president. the president saying, governor, you are the last person who is going to get tough on china. >> i thought that was a long awaited moment in this debate process. governor romney cries crocodile tears outside of factories that have closed. and he made a lot of money. i thought he did it in a very effective way.
>> will we see you in florida? >> i hope to see you in florida. >> thank you for joining us again. >> thank you, lawrence. chuck todd, msnbc's political director is with us from the spin room and looking at the impact of tonight's debate. >> when you look at what the president had to do it was almost a role reversal. the president had a plan for his debate and he executed it. he still is on an unanswered question of what is his second term going to look like. but he was going to clearly sit there and ding away and ding away at certain things that he felt he had to get out there, whether it was on women's issues. whether it was on immigration. whether it was on the 47% at the end. he barely let anything go by on that front. and mitt romney was sort of
hanging tough there, and then the libya moment happened. and then at that point, it seemed as if mitt romney rattled by that moment and the instant fact check by the two of them. and what's going to be interesting is the romney people are spinning furiously behind me. saying, hey, that wasn't the spirit with which the president was saying about whether that was a terrorist attack. but the moment itself was just a moment of weakness. and even romney supporters are saying he could have answered the question better. and frankly it reminded me of what folks are saying about the president. it doesn't matter if people spinning for you claim to have a better answer. you didn't do it in the moment that you were on camera in front of 65 million people. that said, it certainly sets up debate three, if you will. and finally one other point. if the last remaining swing voters are sitting in ohio and sort of angry about what's wrong with america, why did my factory town, is it gone?
is it china's fault? that's who romney is trying to hand them to blame. or is it guys like mitt romney fault? they are trying to hand that world. everyone i think what was interesting tonight was on that front, they both forcefully made that argument. i think romney used the word china a number of times. who wins that ultimate argument is going to tell us who wins ohio. >> thank you for that. i think the point on libya was also in part about the apparent excitability of mitt romney on that subject. president obama just finished his strongest moment of the debate when he called mr. romney offensive, when he was being incredibly serious and sober on the issue of national security. mr. romney came out stuttering and excited to get out his big attack on the rose garden speech. and that failed in that moment. i think that made it devastates. chris matthews is outside where you are, chuck, and wants in on this. chris? >> is the sense over there among
the journalists that candy crowley operated correctly? that her role stepping in there in the middle of the back and forth saying he's right, you're wrong. how's that going over among the journalists over there? >> chris, the biggest complaint i'm hearing about the moderating is not that. it's more of why didn't she let it go? for instance, i know as a viewer myself, the bush question and then the question to the president about, you know, i was with you before and i don't feel like i -- you know, i don't feel a lot better than i did four years ago, they both answered the question. there wasn't an exchange. so i know there was a disappointment that did she try too hard to get all the questions in from the town hall participants and not let the debate organically go. look, there were moments when there was raw emotion between these men. make no mistake. it's certainly common for two candidates not to like each other in a campaign. i don't think these two guys respect each other.
and that's a level of sort of raw emotion and frankly it's emblematic of the polarized position of your country these days. >> but romney -- >> go ahead. >> but romney didn't once again respect the moderator. from the beginning he began those tactics of brushing her aside like he did jim lehrer. and she had to stand up to him or the whole pattern would have been the same as before. >> but i would say the president was also agressive in trying to run over candy at times too. there was one part of this i would be interested about. there were people dial grouping for various campaigns and entities. and i thought both of them if they were trying to appeal to suburban women, which i know that was one of the appeal. was all of the alpha dog moments that the two of them having where they were almost circling
each other at times. i'm guessing that didn't play very well with anybody who has the -- i wish everybody would get along, we need to stop this partisan fighting, this bickering. the moments of when they looked like the bickersons there, i'm wondering if that didn't play hot with those folks in the middle. >> thank you both on that. i felt like i was watched capuera in the middle there. i want to get your opinions on what happened tonight, what the stakes were to these candidates and how this sets up debate three. >> if you're the president and his people, i think you're happy. i think all the main lines of not only an affirmative defense of the record was there tonight but also the attacks on mitt romney. let's not fool ourselves. the obama campaign has been masterfully adept at painting mitt romney a certain way. at nailing him to his record at bain capital and his flip-flopping. they've done that time and time and time again. and what happened the first
debate was the president himself failed to do that as well. tonight the president took every opportunity possible to do the same thing the campaign has so successfully done for several months that has produced the margin of, you know, produced their lead if the polls. so i think they have to be feeling good. >> steve schmidt? >> i think governor romney did an effective job on issues around the economy. i also think he had three turnovers tonight. it would be interesting to see how the immigration issues are covered on univision. i think also the 47% question and the libya question, they're going to be replayed over and over again over the next 24 hours. as we've talked about before, when you look at these debate leads and flash polls, the side that is able to capitalize on the other's mistake, it tends to grow that lead. it may be in 24, 48 hours that the lead opens up in how people viewed what the outcome of this debate is that's different and wider than it is right now.
>> al sharpton? >> i think the president did what he should have done. i think he certainly stopped the momentum, may have even reversed it. certainly on the economy, on the issue of women and other things. i think, though, the most devastating things for romney tonight was self-inflicted. the benghazi problem and i think on immigration. but i think they covered all the issues other than voting. i wish voter suppression would have come up. and it was a big night for the president. >> i have been to ohio six times in the last year and i think about that state and those voters there and all the things i've heard. i don't think i heard anything from the president tonight that would hurt him one bit in that state. health care, education, jobs, manufacturing, automobile rescue. all of those things are all positive. and of course shoring up some issues with the womens vote tonight. i mean, tonight the president made the case that i'm going to
be the fighter for you in the middle class. it's the largest economic voting block in america. i think he hit it out of the park with those folks tonight. >> i think the most important thing tonight for democrats as the takeaway here was the answer to your question last time. with outrage in your voice, where was the president tonight. you guys were both on that. and now everybody knows exactly where the president was tonight. he was beating mitt romney in this debate handling. in a way that he needed to do in order to keep this alive for him. we will be back here again next monday for the third an final presidential debate between barack obama and mitt romney. but right now our friend chris matthews continues our debate coverage from hofstra in hempstead, new york. [ man ] ring ring... progresso
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>> welcome back from hofstra university for a special post-debate "hardball" on this very important night for president obama. tonight he, the president, showed the motive of his presidency, why he's there. the passion of a competitor and i believe the spontaneity of a very bright mind. in the debate two weeks ago demoralized many of his supporters, tonight couldn't have been different. he stood up for his record and had several clear victories tonight. >> governor romney was a very successful investor. if somebody came to you, governor, with a plan that said here i want to spend $7 trillion or $8 trillion and we're going to pay for it, but we can't tell you until maybe after the election how we're going to do it, you wouldn't have taken such a sketchy deal. >> well, the president offered a spirited defense of his record on womens rights and challenged his opponent mitt romney on the topic.
let's take a look. >> i want to point out when governor romney's campaign was asked about the lilly ledbetter bill, he said i'll get back to you. and that's not the kind of advocacy that women need in any economy. >> the president hit romney on the economy, on his tax plans, on immigration, and the ninth inning grand slam on romney's comments on that 47%. did he do enough to arrest the trend lines in the polls which have been moving toward governor are m? big question. let's look at this snap poll just after the debate after cbs. 37% said obama won, 30% gave it to romney, and 33% said it was a tie. a cnn poll said 46% of watchers called this for obama versus 39% for romney. did obama re-energize his party? i'm joined by howard fineman and joy reed and steve schmidt. steve schmidt, you're a great
guy. you are a good sport. and i really do think you called this pretty much as any smart guy would. so tonight how could two men be so different in two weeks? romney was a b version of what he was two weeks ago. obama was d version two weeks ago compared to this. how could somebody change so much. >> it's remarkable. i remember the debate in 2004 with president bush where we entered that first, the real politics had president bush ahead of john kerry. and after the debate it was an even race. and you saw that happen in e the first debate. i think there has to be something to the fact that an incumbent president isn't used to being challenged, isn't used to being pushed. they have a lot going on. they don't take the preparation that seriously. clearly tonight i think one of the results is that governor romney got president obama's
full attention. we saw a very different performance tonight. >> is this why nba series almost always go to seven games? i mean, my dad used to say they were fixed. i said no -- i thought about it over the years. it's probably because you win when you really have to win. you play your really, really good b-ball. and tonight the president played his really, really good game because the other game wasn't working, right? >> no doubt. i mean, couple weeks ago mitt romney was staring in the abyss. if he didn't have the performance of his lifetime, the race was effectively over. if the president had come out and had even a middle performance, the race would have effectively been over. tonight the president was in a difficult circumstance. and the president, i think, did what he needed to do tonight to arrest, you know to some degree, the momentum that governor romney has enjoyed. it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. i think one of the dominating characteristics of this debate, chris, were some of the errors
that mitt romney gave. i think he did a fine performance, but turnovers kill you in championship games. he had three turnovers tonight. >> yes. let's go to this one. from the start we saw a different president tonight than the man who showed up two weeks ago. let's take a look at how he challenged romney on his -- i love this one. this is my favorite of the night actually. the five-point plan that was condensed to one point by the president. >> governor romney says he's got a five-point plan. governor romney doesn't have a five-point plan. he has a one-point plan. and that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. that's been his philosophy in the private sector. that's been his philosophy as governor. that's been his philosophy as a presidential candidate. you can make a lot of money and pay lower tax rates than somebody who makes a lot less. you can ship jobs overseas and get tax breaks for it. you can invest in a company, bankrupt it, lay off the workers, strip away pensions and
you still make money. that's exactly the philosophy that we've seen in place for the last decade. that's what's been squeezing middle class families. and we have fought back for four years to get out of that mess. the last thing we need to do is to go back to the very same policies that got us there. >> you know, he's explained what happened with equity businesses. they strip a company, cut the costs, flip it. >> yeah. >> but you can't flip america. that's the problem. >> you know what was incredible was that in one debate, the president with mitt romney's considerable help reset mitt romney back to the guy, the character the obama campaign had been building him up to. he reestablished him as that. and romney helped, i got to tell you. romney's demeanor, he had that nasty ceo demeanor on tonight. it worked last debate because
barack obama let him do it. tonight it came across as the boss you hate. i thought it was too much in the president's face. that answer combined with romney's sort of nasty demeanor and his over physicality with the president and really disrespectful physicality toward the president i have to say. i think they put romney right back in that nasty ceo box. >> i had a boss like that. he would light up his cigarette in a no smoking area and start barking orders. nice guy. >> that was the best summary that the president has given of what's wrong in the view of his supporters and in his mind with mitt romney's philosophy. it was very, very well done. many other great lines. many other great issues that the president hit on whether it was pay equity or the arizona immigration law. or china. >> romney never touched pay equity.
>> never touched it. he never answered the question. china when the president said you're the last guy to get tough on china. mitt romney didn't say anything. >> and not only that, but i want to see this binder of qualified women that he was carting around. >> that's the -- >> what do you mean by that? where do you think the binder is? >> that's the hottest phrase on twitter right now. >> you ask the guy -- >> let's go to steve schmidt. describe this, steve spp it a picture book? what is this binder of women? it sounds like bondage. what is this binder of women? what do you make of that phrase? >> you all love that binder, huh? he -- no, look. you know, i don't think that that was his most articulate moment in the debate. but obviously a lot of discussion about it on the internet.
but i do think that that's not going to be the moment that's replayed a great deal over the next 24 to 48 hours. i think that's going to be the libya moment and the 47% moment. one of the things i find inexplicable about the debate, you come to the end of the debate. you know the president's going to get the last word. you've just gotten through the second debate without a single mention of the 47% comment which devastated your candidacy and your campaign over the month of september and you proactively bring it up putting your chin out over the plate for the president to wallop you on. >> right out there on the ledge. >> he did it at the end thus allowing the president to have the last word on it. that was just a bad piece of debate tactic there. >> i think it's like taking it to the wrong goal line. >> your own goal in soccer. >> the binders of women thing will have legs because of everything else that romney said. the women need to get home in time to cook dinner.
those women who work. what world is he in? >> and the way he directed at candy crowley. it was disrespectful. >> also the reason he had to be more aggressive tonight was candy crowley was not jim lehrer. >> she was not a potted plant. >> that forced romney to have to move out more and he overdid it. >> do you realize, joy, the guts it took for candy knowing he had said act of terror. knowing it was on her mind. it had been in her notebook. if she had been wrong on that, the hell she would have taken from all these media watchers from the right. unbelievable. >> and she is anyway. >> what's their case now? she was right. >> in the spin room afterwards, a lot of the complaining was about her. >> why? >> she wasn't wrong. she's a reporter. that's why it's important to have a journalist in that situation. and it provided romney's i think most embarrassing moment of the night. because he sat there. he leaned his chin out, he put
his eyebrows up. and he was wrong. >> he thought he was moving in for the kill at that point. >> and he said let's move on. like i don't want to test this moment. let's watch. very strong moment as you say, joy. the president responded to romney's attack on the libya issue. he says when it comes to the security of his diplomats, the buck stops with him. very powerful here. then this moment happened. let's watch it. >> and the suggestion that anybody in my team whether the secretary of state, our u.n. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, governor, is offensive. that's not what we do. that's not what i do as president. that's not what i do as commander in chief. >> i think it's interesting the president just said something which is that on the day after the attack he went in the rose garden and said that this was an act of terror.
you said in the rose garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror. it was not a spontaneous demonstration. is that what you're saying? >> please proceed, governor. >> i want to make sure we get that for the record. because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in benghazi an act of terror. >> he did, in fact, sir. let me call it an act of terror. he did call it an act of terror. >> that's one of the great moments in television. >> the reason is, chris, i think, is that you saw mitt romney for what he really was there. who is a cold-blooded guy who thought he was moving in for the political kill. the political kill shot. you could see it in his eyes. and he was wrong. he did -- the president did say acts of terror. he said acts of terror. >> that's the fact. both candy crowley and obama
were right there. here's what the president said at that rose garden event the day after the attack in benghazi. let's take a listen. >> no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation. alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values we stand for. today we mourn four more americans who represent the very best of the united states of america. we will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act and make no mistake, justice will be done. >> well, we've been witnesses to history tonight. thank you. and thank you steve schmidt up in new york. thanks, steve, for sticking around. this is my favorite part of the night. this crowd gets wild here at hofstra university. up next will the president's base be happy with his performance tonight? as sarah palin would say, you bet ya. this is msnbc's live coverage of the second presidential debate.
and it's a bad policy. >> liberals were aghast at president obama's first debate performance two weeks ago in denver. did he perform strongly enough this night to regain their confidence and their enthusiasm? joan walsh ought to know. and eugene robinson both are msnbc political analysts. so you guys have a little time out there to hear reacting. gene, first, what are you hear hearing? is the base aroused? >> the base is aroused, happy. that's the president barack obama they saw in 2008. >> this crowd's aroused. >> and they don't know who that guy was two weeks ago. >> he's gone. >> whoever he was, they're glad he's gone. and that the real barack obama showed up. >> you're in touch with the
blog-o-sphere. in the middle of that spin, what are you hearing? >> they're very happy, chris. and they're happy on substance but also on style. the president who came out tonight was energized, happy, funny. he was feisty, he wasn't disrespectful but he got in mitt romney's face. the base loves for him to fight. they want to see that fight in him. and the number of times he said some version of you're not telling the truth, that's not true, that's not right was -- i lost count. and people love that. on the substance of it, obviously that could be displayed about immigration and mitt romney's self-deportation and all of that. women love the lilly ledbetter. >> it was preparation and planning. the president knew what he wanted to do. >> he had a game plan. >> he was so prepared. >> he went to contraception as you pointed, a women's issue. but he made careful. you look at the slippage.
he's careful to trim that. let's look championing his own record on women. he was sure to point out the romney's campaign not wanting to take on lilly ledbetter. let's watch him go after him on womens rights. >> when governor romney's campaign was asked about the lilly ledbetter bill whether he supported it, he said i'll get back to you. and that's not the kind of advocacy that women need in any economy. now, there are some other issues that have a bearing on how women succeed in the workplace. for example, their health care. now, a major difference in this campaign is that governor romney feels comfortable having politicians in washington decide the health care choices that women are making. i think that's a mistake. in my health care bill, i said insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage
to everybody who's insured. because this is not just a health issue, it's an economic issue for women. it makes a difference. this is money out of that family's pocket. governor romney not only opposed it, he suggested that, in fact, employers should be able to make the decision as to whether or not a woman gets contraception through her insurance coverage. that's not the kind of advocacy that women need. >> why is he sitting there so primly? is he so enriched with -- he can't come out for equal pay? why can't he say i agree with you. women should get paid the same as men? >> because he doesn't. >> he must not believe it. that's exactly right. i thought that was amazing. >> he's sitting there like a little kid on his stool. >> he couldn't say the words. when he finally got to speak, he said everything but that. >> the women in the binders.
>> right. >> okay. we're back to women in binders. >> yes. at home to cook people dinner, that's a womens issue. >> let's take a look. romney touted his women to jobs in massachusetts when he was governor up there. he brought up this binder. let's listen. let's take a look. >> and important topic. one which i learned a great deal about particularly as i was serving as governor of my state. because i had the chance to pull together a cabinet. and all the applicants seemed to be men. and i went to my staff and i said how come all the people in these jobs are men. they said they have the qualifications. i thought can't we find women that are also qualified. so we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.
i went to a number of womens groups and said could you help us find folks. they brought us whole binders full of women. i was proud of the fact after i staffed my cabinet and my senior staff, that the university of new york in albany did a survey of all 50 states and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in america. >> you know, i just -- it sounds great. that's a great scenario of affirmative action. that's what it is. don't go for the usuals. broaden the search. but i just don't find it incredible. i wonder of these binders. didn't he know any women in business? what are they picture books? what are these things he's looking at? >> i don't know. let's say they're resumes. i don't think there were any women partners in bain capital. it's not like he walks in a world with women as equals and partners. >> you know why? because he refuses to pay them the same amount as men.
>> his big picture answer was we'll create so many jobs that employers will have this need to hire all these people so they'll hire even the women. >> even women. >> you're making his point which is not a five-point plan. it's a one-point plan. favorite line of the night. joy to the world. thank you joan walsh, thank you eugene robinson. coming up, our focus group, how did they vote this tonight? i am intrigued. we'll see how our focus group at nbc has done. this is msnbc's live coverage of the second presidential debate. >> the president has tried, but his policies haven't worked. he's great as a -- as a speaker. and describing his plans and his vision. that's wonderful. except we have a record to look at.
not everybody agrees with some of the decisions i've made. but when it comes to our national security, i mean what i say. >> welcome back to "hardball." now for the instant reaction on tonight's debate. we go to nbc news correspondent ron allen who's with a focus group of undecided voters at ohio state at columbus. ron? >> chris, it is the ohio state university. i've been corrected 100 times since i've been here. and we've got a tough crowd. first of all, how many think president obama won the debate?
raise your hand. one. just one. how many think mitt romney won the debate? just one. the other six are, well, think it was a draw. let's begin with you. chris, you said that romney won and you're going to vote for him now. why? >> first of all, he came out with a plan for the economy. starting with energy. >> and you voted for president obama the last time around? >> i did. >> and you voted for romneys in other elections. >> yes. >> tom, you voted for president obama last time? and now you're going to do it again. >> yes. >> tonight convinced you. >> tonight convinced me basically because over the past four years he's attempted to advance the economy and now that he's starting to do it, he needs more time. >> so you think four more years will get it done? >> i hope so. yes, sir. >> let's talk to some of you who are undecided, can't make up your mind. you, dawn, you're a married mother.